Care home residents will be able to see their loved ones more often after ministers said they no longer have to self-isolate for 14 days after a trip outside.
The move, which will go ahead despite the delay to the ending of most restrictions, means they will be able to spend more time with families and friends.
Everyone who leaves a care home for an outdoor visit or, say, a dental or GP appointment must isolate for a fortnight on return.
However, from next Monday they can leave for more social reasons – including overnight stays – without having to isolate on return.
Care home residents no longer have to self- isolate for 14 days after a trip out (stock)
Residents will undergo an enhanced testing regime – a PCR test before admission, one on the day of admission and a further such test seven days later.
Care home residents who return from hospital will still have to self-isolate for a fortnight, however, as will those who go on a ‘high-risk’ visit – such as to an area with high rates of infection or where there was a variant of concern.
Care minister Helen Whately said: ‘Thanks to the success of the vaccine rollout, we can now take another step towards normality, helping more people enjoy visits out of the care home while protecting them from the continued risk of Covid-19.’
Campaigners have warned that the rules are too restrictive and risk harming the wellbeing of residents, particularly now that almost all have been fully vaccinated.
Care minister Helen Whately (pictured) said: ‘Thanks to the success of the vaccine rollout, we can now take another step towards normality’
The Government has also strengthened the role of the ‘essential care giver’, which means every resident should be able to nominate a friend or family member to provide extra care. Essential care givers can continue to visit during outbreaks.
Care home restrictions have been among the most stringent after a series of outbreaks during the first and second Covid waves killed thousands of residents.
There were 19,286 coronavirus deaths in care homes between mid-March and mid-June last year, and 16,355 during the second wave between October and February.
Source: Daily Mail UK